Nasib jadi angkasawan negara yang beruntungan

There will be no objection if the wedding reception of Malaysia's first astronaut Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor and wife Halina Mohd Yunos' wedding dinner is dubbed 'the gathering of astronauts'. Held at the country's federal administration center PICC, the couple's wedding saw the participation of 100 astronauts from 35 countries including China, the United States, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, India and many more. Among the astronaut guests are India’s Rakesh Sharma the first Muslim astronaut, Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia and the first Chinese Taikonaut, Yang Li Wei.

The ceremony was much merrier as it was graced by Sultans from the states of Selangor and Kedah, as well as the Malay Ruler of the state of Negeri Sembilan. Also present were Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and wife Rosmah Mansor, Malaysian Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Mukhriz Mahathir and Malaysia's ambassador to the U.S. Jamaluddin Jarjis.

Malaysia’s first astronaut Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha tied the knot with an extravagant do. More than 10,000 were present at his solemnisation ceremony at the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Putrajaya Mosque.

Dubbed the 'Wedding of the Year, the grand affair was televised live by TV3, the event’s official media sponsor last night. Many have anticipated that this wedding to be even grander that of Malaysia’s sweetheart, Dauk Siti Nurhaliza’s in 2006. According to reports, the total cost for Siti’s wedding was around RM500,000. The total sponsored items cost more than RM9 million. TV3 had paid RM1 million to broadcast the ceremony.

The spokesman for Dr Sheikh Muszaphar kept mum on the cost of this wedding but sources said the grand affair might outdo Siti’s.

As for the cost of the wedding photography and videography coverage, official photographer, Saiful Nang disclosed the commercial value was about RM90,000, although only a nominal fee was charged. He said the wedding coverage will be carried out by a crew of 25, the largest he had ever assembled for a wedding.

The couple had their engagement ceremony at Klana Resort Hotel, Seremban on January 1 and had set October 10 as their wedding date as it was the third anniversary of his trip to space in 2007. With the theme 'Malay warrior in a mythical palace', the couple’s morning solemnisation at the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Putrajaya Mosque was opened to the public, followed by their evening reception at the Putra International Convention Centre (PICC).

Dr Sheikh Muszaphar was sent to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz TMA-11 with the Expedition 16 crew on October 10, 2007. He flew under an agreement with Russia through the Malaysian Angkasawan Programme and returned to earth on October 21, 2007, aboard Soyuz TMA-10 with the Expedition 15 crew members, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov, after nine days aboard the station. He is an orthopaedic surgeon and a university medical officer at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and was reportedly a part-time model as well. Flying as a guest of the Russian government and especially before his official inauguration by Roscosmos, he was referred to as a spaceflight participant in the Nasa website which created an uproar among his fans.

However, he was officially and duly inaugurated as a cosmonaut by Roscosmos on November 9, 2007.